Monday, May 31, 2010

What is discontent?


What is discontent? What does it mean to be discontented? Well, dictionary.com says discontent is, 'A lack of being content' or rather, 'A restless longing for better circumstances'. Have you ever felt discontented?

In September 1865, William Booth writes these words about his feelings of discontentment:
'The moral degradation and spiritual destitution of the teeming populations of the East of London are subjects with which the Christians of the metropolis are painfully conversant. Many true hearted and zealous labourers are toiling in the spirit of the Master to stop the mighty tide of iniquity and to pour the glorious light of the Gospel in upon the dense darkness everywhere abounding - yet seeing these labourers only as a faint lone star whose light but reveals the surrounding darkness. A city missionary, living in this neighbourhood, says that there are hundreds who need to be taught the existence of God...'

This is a point I want to make: William Booth has pain in his heart, a kind of discontent about the situation of East London, and God laid on his heart a response. What was the response? The response was the beginnings of The Christian Mission (1865), and then the name change to The Salvation Army (1878).

Discontent --> Response

Moses was discontent with the situations in Egypt with the Israelites in Slavery. His response was, with God's intervention, to deliver the people from Egypt.

John the Baptist was discontent about the lack of holiness of some, so his response was to preach holiness.

Paul became discontent about the persecution of these new 'followers of Jesus', and his response was to preach the Gospel to those who haven't heard the gospel.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was discontent with the church forcing people to literally pay money for their sins to be forgiven. His response - articles, letters, books and preaching in relation to these corrupt practices.

It seems that God uses our discontent to drive us to respond. I know of evangelists, who are in pain that people haven't responded to the gospel, so they preach repentance. I know of social activists who are frustrated that human trafficking is a billion dollar industry that abuses thousands of women and children, so they become a voice for the hurting. I know of someone who is discontent that some children have no family and there is a waiting list for foster care... her response? Foster caring up to 10 children at once.

What are you discontent about? Lazy churches? Injustice? Lack of prayer? Dirty worship halls? Sexual abuse? Inhumane treatment of refugees?

Why don't you stop now... And tell us what YOUR discontent is!

Let God use this discontent to drive you to respond! 


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